Expat Files: Ashley Best in Burgos, Castilla y Leon

Burgos is the city that I was so fortunate to call home for the past nine months. I honestly didn’t know what to expect since it’s not really a city that most people take the time to go to visit let alone blog about it. One awesome blogger Ashley fills us all in on life in Burgos and I’m honestly so grateful to call her a great friend. She has a ton of valuable information on her blog like where to score the best vegetarian food in Spain, a Spanish word of the day from her adorable fiancee, and tips for auxiliares de conversación. I am so excited to feature this girl and I hope you all take the time to check out her blog and social media for some sweet content about Spain!

1. Why did you choose Spain?

Well, I don’t think I necessarily chose Spain, it sort of fell into my lap. A lot of foreigners who come to Spain story of how they dreamt of living here after a holiday, studying Spanish or from an interest in the culture/literature/history, etc. I’m a French major from university, so my path was leaning more toward France or French Canada, that is until I met my Spanish partner in London in 2011. After years of long-distance, dealing with the stress of expiring visas and too many overseas moves we made the decision to leave Canada two years ago and move to Spain. I haven’t regretted the decision once. It’s not always easy living in another country, but we work through the hard stuff and always come out the other side winning. I adore Spain, Spanish food and the Spanish culture, and am proud to call it my home.

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The queen of finding killer street art

2. Can you tell us where you are located?

I live in Burgos, a city with a population of about 180,000, in northern Castilla y León. Despite its reputation for being one of the coldest cities in Spain (yup, it snows here) and for having “cold people” as a result, I adore this city. I was lucky enough to visit Burgos a handful of times before moving here last spring, meaning that I was slightly familiar with the place I’d be calling home. Burgos is really beautiful and due to it’s important place in Spanish history has an impressive assortment of monuments and sites to visit. Aside from morcilla de Burgos, Burgos is best known for Cid Campeador, the 11th-century Spanish hero, and it’s breathtaking Gothic cathedral. However, Burgos has plenty more to offer beside these, it’s home to Atapuerca (an archaeological dig where the oldest human fossils and tools in Western Europe have been found) and the Museum of Human Evolution. Burgos is also a goldmine for impressive stone monasteries and luscious green spaces. The food is another reason why I love this city; Burgos was named the Spanish Gastronomy Capital in 2013 and there’s no doubting why, the food scene here is phenomenal (for vegetarians and meat-eaters alike)!

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#FavoriteCanadianSlashSpanishCouple

3. What was the biggest obstacle you faced when you made the move to Spain?

I’m sure most people would name the language as their biggest obstacle after moving to Spain, but I was lucky enough to have a few years of Spanish immersion from living with Spanish partner, so the language wasn’t the problem. However, it could have been if I hadn’t had his help before moving here. I think the biggest obstacle for me- and it still holds true- is finding my place in Spain. Unlike a lot of English (or other) speakers my age, Spain is permanent for me; I have Spanish residency and have made it my home. I struggle with being someone who stays while everyone else leaves, with making friends and with feeling like I’m a part of a community here. Some days are harder than others, but I can definitely day that now in my second year in Spain and after having forced myself to do the same things as I did in Canada (like volunteering, going to the gym or attending cultural activities) I struggle with finding my place less than before. I do my best to stay positive and keep pushing myself out of my comfort zone.

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4. Can you describe Spain in three words?

Alive, real, colourful.

5. What is one thing you wish you knew before coming to Spain?

Oh, this one question’s difficult! I guess I’ll say that I wish I’d known that I was going to have to teach English for longer than I want to. After 3 years as a language assistant (two in Spain and another in France) and having renewed for another I’m starting to test the waters and see what I can do to support myself that doesn’t mean teaching English. I certainly don’t mind it, but I’d like a job related to my field of study, with more security than 8 months as a language assistant each school year. I’m sure that before I came here I thought I wouldn’t dedicate so many years to teaching English, a friendly heads-up would have been appreciated it!

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The curly hair club in Burgos

Thanks Ashley for taking the time to respond to these questions! And don’t forget to follow her on social media!

Instagram: Instagram/ashlimeilleure

Blog: Como Perderse en España

 

Hasta luego!

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